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UAE National Currency – Useful Data on History and Current Exchange Rates

The economy of the United Arab Emirates is very diverse and its banking system is one of the strongest in the world. However, for a person planning a visit to the UAE, it is very important to have sufficient information on the national currency. Here are some useful facts.

The national currency used in the UAE is called dirham (AED) also known as the Emirati dirham. The name originates from the Greek “drachma” (literally, “handful,” “handle”). It used to be a unit of weight in several Arab and North African countries. Approximately, at the end of the 7th century, the dirham began to be widely used by the Arab world as the coin. However, this was not the only currency circulating in the region and it went about along with dinar, riyal and Gulf rupee.

The independent state of the United Arab Emirates introduced dirham as the official national currency in 1973. The first series of denominations was issued in 1973. Each dirham is comprised of 100 fils. Dirham is issued by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. The circulating coins are in 5, 10, 25, 50 fils and 1 dirham.

As far as the banknotes are concerned, current denominations include 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 (is rare), 500 and 1,000 dirhams (re-introduced in 2000). They differ in colour (brown, purple, green, blue, navy blue, pink), size and images used on the obverse and reverse sides. Eastern Arabic numerals are used on the obverse of the banknotes while the text is in Arabic. The reverse side of the banknotes contains Eastern Arabic numerals accompanied by an English text.

Exchange rates are also extremely important for a person planning to temporarily stay, move to or do business in the UAE. The link below to the web site of the Emirates NBD bank contains the info on the currency exchange rates of UAE Dirham to basic world currencies


Those, doing business in the United Arab Emirates appreciated the national currency stability in this country. The dirham’s rate is linked to dollar. Money can be changed in one of the UAE banks. Different transfer systems are available, too. The security thread on the banknotes is 3-mm wide and shows the current coat of arms of the United Arab Emirates.

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